Exelixis and Ipsen Announce Positive Results from Phase 3 CONTACT-02 Pivotal Trial Evaluating Cabozantinib in Combination with Atezolizumab in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
– Cabozantinib in combination with atezolizumab demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the risk of disease progression or death compared with a second novel hormonal therapy in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer
– A trend toward improvement in overall survival was observed at first interim analysis
– Findings will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting and discussed with health authorities globally
ALAMEDA, Calif. & PARIS – August 21, 2023 – Exelixis, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXEL) and Ipsen (Euronext: IPN; ADR: IPSEY) today announced that the global phase 3 CONTACT-02 pivotal trial met one of two primary endpoints, demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) at the primary analysis. CONTACT-02 is evaluating cabozantinib (CABOMETYX®) in combination with atezolizumab compared with a second novel hormonal therapy in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) and measurable soft tissue disease who have been previously treated with one novel hormonal therapy. At a prespecified interim analysis for the primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) that occurred at the same time as the primary analysis of PFS, a trend toward improvement of OS was observed; however, the data were immature and did not meet the threshold for statistical significance. Therefore, the trial will continue to the next analysis of OS as planned.
The safety profile of the combination of cabozantinib and atezolizumab was consistent with the known safety profiles for each single medicine, and no new safety signals were identified with the combination.
“These positive findings from CONTACT-02 are highly encouraging given the need for additional, non-cytotoxic or non-chemotherapeutic treatment options for this patient population,” said Neeraj Agarwal, M.D., FASCO, Professor and Presidential Endowed Chair of Cancer Research at Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah and the global lead investigator of the trial. “Cabozantinib in combination with atezolizumab represents a potential new treatment modality for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, and we look forward to sharing the full data at a future medical meeting.”
“Patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer face a poor prognosis of less than two years, and many who progress on a novel hormonal therapy are seeking alternative treatment options to chemotherapy,” said Vicki L. Goodman, M.D., Executive Vice President, Product Development & Medical Affairs, and Chief Medical Officer, Exelixis. “We are pleased to report positive findings from the CONTACT-02 trial, in which cabozantinib in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor has demonstrated an efficacy benefit in another tumor type with significant unmet need. We look forward to discussing these findings with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and to presenting further details at an upcoming medical meeting.”
“With prostate cancer confirmed as the second most commonly occurring cancer in men globally, the need for innovative new therapies is extensive, especially for those whose cancer has progressed to the metastatic castration-resistant form,” said Howard Mayer, Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development at Ipsen. “These results represent the first positive phase 3 data of its kind for a tyrosine kinase inhibitor and immunotherapy combination in this indication. We will engage with regulatory authorities on these data and look forward to further exploring the potential treatment benefit for a patient population at such a challenging stage of disease.”
CONTACT-02 is a global, multicenter, randomized, phase 3, open-label study that enrolled 575 patients who were randomized 1:1 to the experimental arm of cabozantinib in combination with atezolizumab and the control arm of a second novel hormonal therapy (either abiraterone and prednisone or enzalutamide). The study included patients with mCRPC who have measurable visceral disease or measurable extrapelvic adenopathy who have been previously treated with one novel hormonal therapy. The two primary endpoints of the trial are PFS and OS. The secondary endpoint is objective response rate. The trial is sponsored by Exelixis and co-funded by Ipsen, Roche and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda). Takeda is conducting the trial in Japan. More information about CONTACT-02 is available at ClinicalTrials.gov.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the fourth most common cancer overall globally.1 In 2020, there were more than 1.4 million new cases of prostate cancer and about 375,300 deaths worldwide.1 Prostate cancer is considered mCRPC when it has spread beyond the prostate and does not respond to androgen-suppression therapies, a common treatment for prostate cancer.2 Men diagnosed with mCRPC often have a poor prognosis, with an estimated survival of 1-2 years.3
About CABOMETYX® (cabozantinib)
In the U.S., CABOMETYX tablets are approved for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC); for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib; for patients with advanced RCC as a first-line treatment in combination with nivolumab; and for adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) that has progressed following prior VEGFR-targeted therapy and who are radioactive iodine-refractory or ineligible. CABOMETYX tablets have also received regulatory approvals in over 60 countries outside the U.S. and Japan, including the European Union. In 2016, Exelixis granted Ipsen exclusive rights for the commercialization and further clinical development of cabozantinib outside of the U.S. and Japan. In 2017, Exelixis granted exclusive rights to Takeda for the commercialization and further clinical development of cabozantinib for all future indications in Japan. Exelixis holds the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize cabozantinib in the U.S.
CABOMETYX in combination with atezolizumab is not indicated as a treatment for mCRPC.
U.S. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Hemorrhage: Severe and fatal hemorrhages occurred with CABOMETYX. The incidence of Grade 3 to 5 hemorrhagic events was 5% in CABOMETYX patients in RCC, HCC, and DTC studies. Discontinue CABOMETYX for Grade 3 or 4 hemorrhage and prior to surgery as recommended. Do not administer CABOMETYX to patients who have a recent history of hemorrhage, including hemoptysis, hematemesis, or melena.
Perforations and Fistulas: Fistulas, including fatal cases, occurred in 1% of CABOMETYX patients. Gastrointestinal (GI) perforations, including fatal cases, occurred in 1% of CABOMETYX patients. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of fistulas and perforations, including abscess and sepsis. Discontinue CABOMETYX in patients who experience a Grade 4 fistula or a GI perforation.
Thrombotic Events: CABOMETYX increased the risk of thrombotic events. Venous thromboembolism occurred in 7% (including 4% pulmonary embolism) and arterial thromboembolism in 2% of CABOMETYX patients. Fatal thrombotic events occurred in CABOMETYX patients. Discontinue CABOMETYX in patients who develop an acute myocardial infarction or serious arterial or venous thromboembolic events that require medical intervention.
Hypertension and Hypertensive Crisis: CABOMETYX can cause hypertension, including hypertensive crisis. Hypertension was reported in 37% (16% Grade 3 and <1% Grade 4) of CABOMETYX patients. Do not initiate CABOMETYX in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Monitor blood pressure regularly during CABOMETYX treatment. Withhold CABOMETYX for hypertension that is not adequately controlled with medical management; when controlled, resume at a reduced dose. Permanently discontinue CABOMETYX for severe hypertension that cannot be controlled with anti-hypertensive therapy or for hypertensive crisis.
Diarrhea: Diarrhea occurred in 62% of CABOMETYX patients. Grade 3 diarrhea occurred in 10% of CABOMETYX patients. Monitor and manage patients using antidiarrheals as indicated. Withhold CABOMETYX until improvement to ≤ Grade 1, resume at a reduced dose.
Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (PPE): PPE occurred in 45% of CABOMETYX patients. Grade 3 PPE occurred in 13% of CABOMETYX patients. Withhold CABOMETYX until improvement to Grade 1 and resume at a reduced dose for intolerable Grade 2 PPE or Grade 3 PPE.
Hepatotoxicity: CABOMETYX in combination with nivolumab can cause hepatic toxicity with higher frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to CABOMETYX alone. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes than when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt CABOMETYX and nivolumab and consider administering corticosteroids.
With the combination of CABOMETYX and nivolumab, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT or AST were seen in 11% of patients. ALT or AST >3 times ULN (Grade ≥2) was reported in 83 patients, of whom 23 (28%) received systemic corticosteroids; ALT or AST resolved to Grades 0-1 in 74 (89%). Among the 44 patients with Grade ≥2 increased ALT or AST who were rechallenged with either CABOMETYX (n=9) or nivolumab (n=11) as a single agent or with both (n=24), recurrence of Grade ≥2 increased ALT or AST was observed in 2 patients receiving CABOMETYX, 2 patients receiving nivolumab, and 7 patients receiving both CABOMETYX and nivolumab. Withhold and resume at a reduced dose based on severity.
Adrenal Insufficiency: CABOMETYX in combination with nivolumab can cause primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. For Grade 2 or higher adrenal insufficiency, initiate symptomatic treatment, including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold CABOMETYX and/or nivolumab and resume CABOMETYX at a reduced dose depending on severity.
Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 4.7% (15/320) of patients with RCC who received CABOMETYX with nivolumab, including Grade 3 (2.2%), and Grade 2 (1.9%) adverse reactions. Adrenal insufficiency led to permanent discontinuation of CABOMETYX and nivolumab in 0.9% and withholding of CABOMETYX and nivolumab in 2.8% of patients with RCC.
Approximately 80% (12/15) of patients with adrenal insufficiency received hormone replacement therapy, including systemic corticosteroids. Adrenal insufficiency resolved in 27% (n=4) of the 15 patients. Of the 9 patients in whom CABOMETYX with nivolumab was withheld for adrenal insufficiency, 6 reinstated treatment after symptom improvement; of these, all (n=6) received hormone replacement therapy and 2 had recurrence of adrenal insufficiency.
Proteinuria: Proteinuria was observed in 8% of CABOMETYX patients. Monitor urine protein regularly during CABOMETYX treatment. For Grade 2 or 3 proteinuria, withhold CABOMETYX until improvement to ≤ Grade 1 proteinuria, resume CABOMETYX at a reduced dose. Discontinue CABOMETYX in patients who develop nephrotic syndrome.
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ): ONJ occurred in <1% of CABOMETYX patients. ONJ can manifest as jaw pain, osteomyelitis, osteitis, bone erosion, tooth or periodontal infection, toothache, gingival ulceration or erosion, persistent jaw pain, or slow healing of the mouth or jaw after dental surgery. Perform an oral examination prior to CABOMETYX initiation and periodically during treatment. Advise patients regarding good oral hygiene practices. Withhold CABOMETYX for at least 3 weeks prior to scheduled dental surgery or invasive dental procedures, if possible. Withhold CABOMETYX for development of ONJ until complete resolution, resume at a reduced dose.
Impaired Wound Healing: Wound complications occurred with CABOMETYX. Withhold CABOMETYX for at least 3 weeks prior to elective surgery. Do not administer CABOMETYX for at least 2 weeks after major surgery and until adequate wound healing. The safety of resumption of CABOMETYX after resolution of wound healing complications has not been established.
Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS): RPLS, a syndrome of subcortical vasogenic edema diagnosed by characteristic findings on MRI, can occur with CABOMETYX. Evaluate for RPLS in patients presenting with seizures, headache, visual disturbances, confusion, or altered mental function. Discontinue CABOMETYX in patients who develop RPLS.
Thyroid Dysfunction: Thyroid dysfunction, primarily hypothyroidism, has been observed with CABOMETYX. Based on the safety population, thyroid dysfunction occurred in 19% of patients treated with CABOMETYX, including Grade 3 in 0.4% of patients.
Patients should be assessed for signs of thyroid dysfunction prior to the initiation of CABOMETYX and monitored for signs and symptoms of thyroid dysfunction during CABOMETYX treatment. Thyroid function testing and management of dysfunction should be performed as clinically indicated.
Hypocalcemia: CABOMETYX can cause hypocalcemia. Based on the safety population, hypocalcemia occurred in 13% of patients treated with CABOMETYX, including Grade 3 in 2% and Grade 4 in 1% of patients. Laboratory abnormality data were not collected in CABOSUN.
In COSMIC-311, hypocalcemia occurred in 36% of patients treated with CABOMETYX, including Grade 3 in 6% and Grade 4 in 3% of patients.
Monitor blood calcium levels and replace calcium as necessary during treatment. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue CABOMETYX depending on severity.
Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: CABOMETYX can cause fetal harm. Advise pregnant women and females of reproductive potential of the potential risk to a fetus. Verify the pregnancy status of females of reproductive potential prior to initiating CABOMETYX and advise them to use effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.
The most common (≥20%) adverse reactions are:
CABOMETYX as a single agent: diarrhea, fatigue, PPE, decreased appetite, hypertension, nausea, vomiting, weight decreased, constipation.
CABOMETYX in combination with nivolumab: diarrhea, fatigue, hepatotoxicity, PPE, stomatitis, rash, hypertension, hypothyroidism, musculoskeletal pain, decreased appetite, nausea, dysgeusia, abdominal pain, cough, and upper respiratory tract infection.
Strong CYP3A4 Inhibitors: If coadministration with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors cannot be avoided, reduce the CABOMETYX dosage. Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
Strong CYP3A4 Inducers: If coadministration with strong CYP3A4 inducers cannot be avoided, increase the CABOMETYX dosage. Avoid St. John’s wort.
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Lactation: Advise women not to breastfeed during CABOMETYX treatment and for 4 months after the final dose.
Hepatic Impairment: In patients with moderate hepatic impairment, reduce the CABOMETYX dosage. Avoid CABOMETYX in patients with severe hepatic impairment.
Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information https://www.cabometyx.com/downloads/CABOMETYXUSPI.pdf.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
EUROPEAN UNION IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
For detailed recommendations on the use of CABOMETYX in the European Union, please see the Summary of Product Characteristics.
Exelixis is a globally ambitious oncology company innovating next-generation medicines and regimens at the forefront of cancer care. Powered by bi-coastal centers of discovery and development excellence, we are rapidly evolving our product portfolio to target an expanding range of tumor types and indications with our clinically differentiated pipeline of small molecules, antibody drug conjugates and other biotherapeutics. This comprehensive approach harnesses decades of robust investment in our science and partnerships to advance our investigational programs and extend the impact of our flagship commercial product, CABOMETYX® (cabozantinib). Exelixis is driven by a bold scientific pursuit to create transformational treatments that give more patients hope for the future. For information about the company and its mission to help cancer patients recover stronger and live longer, visit www.exelixis.com, follow @ExelixisInc on Twitter, like Exelixis, Inc. on Facebook and follow Exelixis on LinkedIn.
Ipsen is a global, mid-sized biopharmaceutical company focused on transformative medicines in Oncology, Rare Disease and Neuroscience. With total sales of €3.0bn in FY 2022, Ipsen sells medicines in over 100 countries. Alongside its external-innovation strategy, the Company’s research and development efforts are focused on its innovative and differentiated technological platforms located in the heart of leading biotechnological and life-science hubs: Paris-Saclay, France; Oxford, U.K.; Cambridge, U.S.; Shanghai, China. Ipsen has around 5,400 colleagues worldwide and is listed in Paris (Euronext: IPN) and in the U.S. through a Sponsored Level I American Depositary Receipt program (ADR: IPSEY). For more information, visit ipsen.com.
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Exelixis Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements related to: the therapeutic potential of the combination of cabozantinib and atezolizumab to reduce the risk of disease progression or death for patients with mCRPC who have been previously treated with one novel hormonal therapy, compared with a second novel hormonal therapy; Exelixis’ plans to discuss the trial data from CONTACT-02 with global health authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and to present detailed findings at an upcoming medical meeting; and Exelixis’ scientific pursuit to create transformational treatments that give more patients hope for the future. Any statements that refer to expectations, projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances are forward-looking statements and are based upon Exelixis’ current plans, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, estimates and projections. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation: complexities and the unpredictability of the regulatory review and approval processes in the U.S. and elsewhere; Exelixis’ continuing compliance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements; the potential failure of cabozantinib in combination with atezolizumab to demonstrate safety and efficacy in clinical testing; uncertainties inherent in the product development process; Exelixis’ dependence on its relationships with its cabozantinib commercial collaboration partners, including the level of investment in the resources necessary to successfully commercialize the combination of cabozantinib and atezolizumab in the territories where approved; the costs of conducting clinical trials, including the ability or willingness of Exelixis’ clinical collaboration partners to invest in the resources necessary to complete the trials; Exelixis’ dependence on third-party vendors for the development, manufacture and supply of cabozantinib; Exelixis’ ability to protect its intellectual property rights; market competition, including the potential for competitors to obtain approval for generic versions of CABOMETYX; changes in economic and business conditions; and other factors affecting Exelixis and its development programs discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in Exelixis’ Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 1, 2023 and Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 7, 2023, and in Exelixis’ future filings with the SEC. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to Exelixis as of the date of this press release, and Exelixis undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, except as required by law.
Ipsen Forward-Looking Statements
The forward-looking statements, objectives and targets contained herein are based on Ipsen’s management strategy, current views and assumptions. Such statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those anticipated herein. All of the above risks could affect Ipsen’s future ability to achieve its financial targets, which were set assuming reasonable macroeconomic conditions based on the information available today. Use of the words ‘believes’, ‘anticipates’ and ‘expects’ and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, including Ipsen’s expectations regarding future events, including regulatory filings and determinations. Moreover, the targets described in this document were prepared without taking into account external-growth assumptions and potential future acquisitions, which may alter these parameters. These objectives are based on data and assumptions regarded as reasonable by Ipsen. These targets depend on conditions or facts likely to happen in the future, and not exclusively on historical data. Actual results may depart significantly from these targets given the occurrence of certain risks and uncertainties, notably the fact that a promising medicine in early development phase or clinical trial may end up never being launched on the market or reaching its commercial targets, notably for regulatory or competition reasons. Ipsen must face or might face competition from generic medicine that might translate into a loss of market share. Furthermore, the research and development process involves several stages each of which involves the substantial risk that Ipsen may fail to achieve its objectives and be forced to abandon its efforts with regards to a medicine in which it has invested significant sums. Therefore, Ipsen cannot be certain that favorable results obtained during preclinical trials will be confirmed subsequently during clinical trials, or that the results of clinical trials will be sufficient to demonstrate the safe and effective nature of the medicine concerned. There can be no guarantees a medicine will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that the medicine will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Other risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and healthcare legislation; global trends toward healthcare cost containment; technological advances, new medicine and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new-medicine development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Ipsen’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Ipsen’s patents and other protections for innovative medicines; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions. Ipsen also depends on third parties to develop and market some of its medicines which could potentially generate substantial royalties; these partners could behave in such ways which could cause damage to Ipsen’s activities and financial results. Ipsen cannot be certain that its partners will fulfil their obligations. It might be unable to obtain any benefit from those agreements. A default by any of Ipsen’s partners could generate lower revenues than expected. Such situations could have a negative impact on Ipsen’s business, financial position or performance. Ipsen expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking statements, targets or estimates contained in this press release to reflect any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which any such statements are based, unless so required by applicable law. Ipsen’s business is subject to the risk factors outlined in its registration documents filed with the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers. The risks and uncertainties set out are not exhaustive and the reader is advised to refer to Ipsen’s latest Universal Registration Document, available on ipsen.com.
Exelixis, the Exelixis logo and CABOMETYX are registered U.S. trademarks of Exelixis.
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1 Prostate cancer statistics. World Cancer Research Fund International. Available at: https://www.wcrf.org/cancer-trends/prostate-cancer-statistics/. Accessed August 2023
2 Prostate Cancer: Types of Treatment. Cancer.Net. Available at: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/types-treatment. Accessed August 2023.
3 Moreira, D. M., et al. Predicting Time From Metastasis to Overall Survival in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Results From SEARCH. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2017; 15: 60–66.e2.